Foster Parents Plan
Being a foster parent can be a very rewarding experience, but it requires a lot of patience and a willingness to set boundaries. Having a plan for acclimating your foster child into your home can help both you and the child build a healthy relationship and handle conflict. Once a foster child arrives at your home, it is too late to make a plan. So if you are planning to become a foster parent, developing a foster parent plan ahead of time is a must.
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What is a Foster Parent Plan?
Your foster parent plan should include how to introduce the foster child to your home as well as what boundaries and rules to set on the first day of the foster child’s arrival. To introduce a foster child to your home, give the child a tour of your home. Tell the foster child clearly if there are places of your home that are off limits.
To build a connection with your foster child right away, sit down for a talk with the child. Because the foster child may be shy or overwhelmed with the experience, tell the child that she does not have to talk if she does not want to. However, it is important for you to explain to the child how your home works. Tell the foster child about yourself and why you decided to become her foster parent. If there are children, pets, or other adults in your home, tell the foster child about them as well.
Rules of the House
Part of your foster parent plan should be rules for your home. It is important to give foster children a structured environment with boundaries. Rules might include chores that the foster child is expected to perform, curfews, or other house rules that everyone in your family follows. On the child’s first day in your home, give her a printed sheet listing the rules and review them to make sure she understands them. Then have her sign the rules to demonstrate that she agrees to follow them.
Finally, your foster plan should include finding out what the foster child expects from you as a foster parent. A good way to go about this is to give the child a blank piece of paper and ask her to write down what she expects from you. Try to meet the child’s expectations if possible. Honor the child’s feedback to validate her feelings. Of course, giving the child your house rules and soliciting feedback may not be appropriate for very young foster children. In this case, plan activities to do together to begin building trust.
Of course, your foster plan should also include getting your home ready for the child. For very young children especially, you may need to child-proof your house or make sure that medications and any firearms are out of reach and preferably out of sight.
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